British abortion activists are demanding that local officials put an end to a peaceful pro-life vigil outside of a Nottingham hospital that performs abortions.
Notts TV reports the group Pro-Choice Nottingham wrote an open letter to the city council, local police and chief executive of the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, urging them to silence the pro-lifers and stop their 40 Days for Life vigil.
The pro-abortion group “demand[s] that all possible action is taken as quickly as possible to remove 40 days for life from the hospital campus and allow women proper access to reproductive healthcare,” according to their letter. They also called the pro-lifers “trespassers who are intimidating vulnerable women.”
40 Days for Life specifically focuses on peaceful, non-aggressive pro-life prayer vigils and outreach outside abortion facilities. The pro-life group leaders in Nottingham emphasized these principles in an interview with the local TV station.
“We are quite a long way from the entrance, we will not approach people, people approach us but if they protest we talk to them but we don’t harangue or harass and we are certainly not here to condemn or judge people,” local pro-life leader John Edwards said.
“We want to pray for an end to abortion, we understand perfectly that abortion is legal in this country but we think that it involves killing an unborn child and we also think it’s not good for the women and their families involved,” Edwards continued. “We don’t want to be insensitive, indeed I would say our whole witness is about being sensitive, about being sensitive to their needs, the longer term needs of women in our society.”
Andrew Chatten, the director of Estates and Facilities for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, told Notts TV that the hospital has police monitoring the pro-lifers daily.
“This position will be kept under review and the Police will be asked to take action in the event of any disturbance, nuisance or anti-social behaviour demonstrated by the group,” Chatten said.
However, it appears that there have not been any problems with the pro-life group. A video on the local news showed a brief interaction between the pro-lifers and an abortion supporter who stopped to complain. In the video, the abortion supporter criticized the pro-lifers and used profanity, while the pro-lifers answered him in a kind, peaceful manner.
The local police told reporters that they have a duty to ensure the pro-lifers’ rights to protest and free speech also are not being violated.
“Their rights to freedom of thought, speech and expression are protected under the European Convention of Human Rights,” said local police Superintendent Ted Antill. “The police and other statutory agencies have duties to facilitate and ensure those rights are not compromised.”
The Nottingham pro-lifers also held 40 Days for Life vigils outside the hospital last year, according to the report.
The 40 Days for Life model of compassionate, caring pro-life outreach has been widely effective in helping women choose life their babies. The peaceful, prayerful outreach also has affected abortion clinic workers, and dozens have quit the industry as a result.
In 10 years, the campaign has grown into an international outreach, with thousands of vigils held in 40 countries.
The spring 40 Days for Life campaign began March 1, and runs through April 9.